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Do you ever have those days where it feels like everything’s going wrong? And you need to do SOMETHING to power through — so you grab a nice big cup of coffee.

But, the crazier the day gets… the MORE coffee you need to get through it.

If you’re like most people — the answer is probably, “Of course!”

After all, it’s hard to face a stressful day without a little caffeine “pick-me-up.”

Well, it turns out, those crazy stressful days might not be as stressful as you think. Researchers from Duke University followed people over a normal day… throughout a stressful morning, noon, and night.

Coffee and Stress | Activated YouWhat they found was astounding:

Coffee can actually stimulate feelings of stress, when NOTHING stressful is truly happening.

And the more coffee you drink… the more stressed you feel!

Now, if you keep it to a cup a day — it’s not that bad. In fact, one cup in the morning could be great for your health. But if you’re relying on coffee to keep you running — that stress really starts to add up.

Because the caffeine in coffee triggers your body to release two powerful stress hormones: adrenaline and noradrenaline.

Normally, these two hormones are a good thing. They get released when something stressful happens, and they help you tackle the issue head-on… then, they subside so you can go about your business.

But when you’re drinking a cup of coffee, it’s not an actual stressful situation… and the more coffee you drink, the more stress hormones your body releases.

So you’re left in a state of constant “stress” — which can really wear you down. And if your first instinct is to reach for a cup of coffee to perk you back up — the cycle continues! (Not to mention that your stress hormones can really skyrocket once you add in actual daily stressors — like work deadlines, rush-hour traffic, and family matters.)

If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. There are a few easy ways to reduce the impact of these stress hormones in your life:

First, baby steps: Have one less cup of coffee a day.

Yes, it can be hard to completely cut it out — Sometimes, old habits die hard. That’s why experts recommend cutting back slowly. One cup less every day or two, until you’re only drinking a cup a day.

The next step: Compromise.

Coffee and Stress | Activated YouIf you want to quit coffee all the way — good for you! But if you find yourself still needing a little “caffeine boost,” try brewing a nice cup of green tea. That’s what I like to drink — iced or hot, sometimes with a little bit of stevia to sweeten it up.

It’ll give you a little kick, but has significantly less caffeine than a typical coffee.1 Or, if you love the taste of coffee, try switching to half-caff or decaf. Keep the “full powered” stuff for a special treat.

Of course, whether or not you plan to cut coffee out of your routine, be sure to take a little “me time” — as much as you can, every day.

Whether that’s meditating for a few minutes in the morning, or relaxing in a nice warm bath at the end of a hectic day… doing what you can to reduce your stress levels can help you feel more powerful, energetic, and of course — happy.

1. Morning Coffee Boosts Blood Pressure, Stress Hormones All Day. ScienceDaily. Published 1999.